An apparatus for simulating the environment at the surface of Mars has been developed. Within the apparatus, the pressure, gas composition, and temperature of the atmosphere; the incident solar visible and ultraviolet (UV) light; and the attenuation of the light by dust in the atmosphere can be simulated accurately for any latitude, season, or obliquity cycle over the entire geological history of Mars. The apparatus also incorporates instrumentation for monitoring chemical reactions in the simulated atmosphere. The apparatus can be used for experiments in astrobiology, geochemistry, aerobiology, and aerochemistry related to envisioned robotic and human exploration of Mars. Moreover, the apparatus can be easily adapted to enable similar experimentation under environmental conditions of (1) the surfaces of moons, asteroids, and comets, and (2) the upper atmospheres of planets other than Mars: in particular, it can be made to simulate conditions anywhere in the terrestrial atmosphere at altitudes up to about 100 km.